Remembering the Roman People

Remembering the Roman People : Essays on Late-republican Politics and Literature

By (author) T. P. Wiseman


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In the Roman republic, only the People could pass laws, only the People could elect politicians to office, and the very word republica meant 'the People's business'. So why is it always assumed that the republic was an oligarchy? The main reason is that most of what we know about it we know from Cicero, a great man and a great writer, but also an active right-wing politician who took it for granted that what was good for a small minority of self-styled 'best people' (optimates) was good for the republic as a whole. T. P. Wiseman interprets the last century of the republic on the assumption that the People had a coherent political ideology of its own, and that the optimates, with their belief in justified murder, were responsible for the breakdown of the republic in civil war.

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  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 137.16 x 215.9 x 17.78mm | 430.91g
  • 15 Aug 2011
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 3 line drawings, 3 half tones
  • 0199609969
  • 9780199609963
  • 1,343,650

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Author Information

T. P. Wiseman is Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Exeter

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Review quote

Review from previous edition The importance of his work lies not only in what he argues but in how - and in the vision of the Roman past he invites us, with such enthusiasm and elegance, to share. Mary Beard, The Times Literary Supplement Wiseman's very selective use of secondary material stands out. This is one of the most learned of classical scholars, who knows the fields, both ancient and modern, inside out, and who argues meticulously against individual positions. Christina Kraus, Bryn Mawr Classical Review This book is ground-breaking for its simple suggestion that the ideology of Roman popular politics is not entirely lost to us, and for its virtuoso demonstration that, fragmentary, inadequate and intensively studied as our sources for the period are, they may still have more to tell us. Mary Beard, Times Literary Supplement All students of the Roman Republic will profit from the quality of scholarship in this volume, as well as from the whole concept of imagining a fresh perspective on a well-known historical period. Harriet Flower, Journal of Roman Studies A book by Peter Wiseman promises a congenial blend of erudition and provocation - and this one does not disappoint ... this is a terrific book, not least because it exhibits a profound passion for the facts of the past, and the truths they reveal. W. Jeffrey Tatum, Hermathena

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